How do I stop my dog from digging?

Digging is a common problem. In this article we’ll look at some of the reasons dogs dig as well as some of the options you can use to stop your dog from digging.

So why do dogs dig in the first place? Young dogs may be more prone to digging as they have excess energy and a higher level of curiosity.

Digging can be very rewarding for a dog. Some dogs just love to dig! This can make it difficult to stop as your dog feels rewarded just for doing it. Terriers or part terriers are more genetically programmed to dig so if you have a terrier breed, they may be more likely to dig.

Dogs can dig because they are bored. They may not be getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. Consider giving your dog longer walks and some vigorous play. Play time in the back yard is not very fulfilling to a dog because they are in their backyard all the time. They get a lot more tired when they are taken out of the yard for a walk, run or play because as well as the exercise, they get stimulation from taking in the sights and smells.

Usually holes dug at the fence line indicates that the dog wants to get out. If this is the case, consider whether your dog is digging as an attempt to escape.

Is it hot weather? Freshly dug up dirt is cool and some dogs will lay in it to escape the heat if they don’t have enough shelter. Consider if your dog has enough cool shade and other methods to cool down.

If your dog is burying bones or other food, this could be a sign of over feeding

Occasionally a dog may even learn to dig after seeing their owner or another dog dig in the garden!

The method you use to stop your dog from digging depend on the reason the dog is digging; so consider the possibilities mentioned above.

You may need to remove your dog from the environment for a time until he can be supervised.

If your dog is digging in the same area continually, restrict the access to the area – fence it off. If you are going to correct your dog, only do so if you catch him in the act. Punishment after the fact is ineffective. If your dog is only a puppy and is digging, try interrupting the behaviour with something new and distracting for the pup to do. Supervision is key here.

Another option is to provide an alternative, appropriate place to dig – sand pits are great. You can then bury toys and/or treats to encourage the use of the pit instead of your garden.

A great solution I have found is to fill the whole with fresh dog poo – yep. Cover with a layer of dirt. When your dog returns to dig and smells the poo, he won’t want to dig any further! You can also bury rocks or place chicken wire in the hole so it doesn’t feel nice to the dog to hit with his paws.

Ensure dog has access to adequate sleeping area in case your dog is digging for a cool place to rest.

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